Proverbs is full of instructions. Do this – don’t do that. Seek this, stay away from that. But what I’ve seen most so far is an extortion to hear:
Hear my instructions, do not forget my teaching, receive my words, turn at my reproof.
This sort of extortion is repeated all throughout Proverbs, usually followed by something about the Word of the Lord or his commandments, and I often find myself skimming over those sections to get to the ‘real stuff’. I think:
“I’ve heard this before.” or “He just said that.”
And I’m impatient, eager to move on to new words.
But that’s really what these chapters are all about. I’m told repeatedly to listen, but I don’t. I’m asked to remember, but I forget. These verses are here, trying to call my attention to the fact that I don’t listen. I don’t hear, I don’t turn and take the right path, the path of wisdom.
In Proverbs 1:5 it says:“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
The key to wisdom is being teachable – increasing in learning. You walk away from the Word changed.
But this requires something I don’t have – humility.
In order to be wise, to learn, to change, I have to admit that there’s something that needs changing. I have to admit that I don’t know everything, that I don’t have it all figured out.
So that’s where I’m starting this month. Admitting that I don’t have all the answers & turning back to sit with the Word to really hear it, really drink it in. So that I might hear the instructions, remember the teaching, receive the words, and turn at the reproof.
It’s going to be a long road.